Juan Bobo Goes to Work
By Dawn Friedman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bumbling boy delights in Puerto Rican folktale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this collection of silly vignettes has nothing offensive for families. It teaches a little Spanish along the way.
Where to Read
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
Foolish but fiercely optimistic Juan Bobo tries over and over again to get different jobs right, with very funny results.
Is It Any Good?
Marisa Montes takes traditional stories of Juan Bobo, the familiar and popular fool in Puerto Rican folk tales, and rewrites them to be more fun and friendlier. She does a nice job of bringing in Spanish vocabulary without lecturing. When Juan Bobo asks a question in Spanish, Don Pepe repeats it in English, making it easy to understand what he's saying without breaking the rhythm of the story. There is a glossary of the Spanish words in the back of the book.
The illustrations are rich and saturated with color. Juan Bobo skips along smiling and appealing, his posture always realistic. In the background are details (palm trees, mountains, and houses on stilts) that help readers get a sense of everyday life in the highlands of Puerto Rico. Kids will love shaking their heads at Juan Bobo's ridiculous assumptions but will be pleased when he finds his happy ending in spite of himself.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about other folk tales and picture books about foolish people who manage to prosper in spite of themselves. Kids will enjoy seeing the similarities and may be inspired to make up their own. They can read the author's note together and find other stories of Juan Bobo to read together. How do they differ? How are they the same?
- Author: Marisa Montes
- Illustrators: Joe Cepeda, Margaret Chodos-Irvine
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
- Publication date: October 31, 2000
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
- Number of pages: 32
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate